I am an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Howard University, where I research and teach on American constitutionalism, civil rights, federalism, Washington, DC politics and statehood, and slavery and abolition. I hold a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
My first book, Hidden Laws: How State Constitutions Stabilize American Politics, was published in 2021 by Yale University Press. The book proposes that high barriers to national constitutional change have encouraged reformers to instead seek state constitutional revision, addressing national controversies over elections, morality regulation, economic and labor laws, and voting, civil, and gender rights . Using datasets and chronological case studies, the book argues that since the founding era, state constitutionalism has guided and sometimes preempted national political change.
My writing on constitutionalism, social movements, and abolitionism is published or forthcoming in The Journal of Politics, Polity, Perspectives on Politics, The Maryland Law Review, and The Tulsa Law Review. I have written on these topics, with a special emphasis on DC statehood, in The Atlantic and The Washington Post.
In 2021 I was awarded a Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship to write my second book, on constitutional hardball.